THOUSANDS of rock music fans will attend a three-day festival from tomorrow as part of a government test event.
The Download Pilot will be headlined by Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Enter Shikari and Bullet For My Valentine, with more than 40 UK-based bands on the bill.
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More significantly, it will be attended by 10,000 punters who will not be required to socially distance or wear masks.
And festival booker Andy Copping said: “Moshing is back on the cards. This is going to be a true celebration of festival spirit and something special to be a part of.”
Download Festival usually attracts more than 100,000 rock and metal fans, but organisers had to postpone the main event in 2020 and this year because of lockdown restrictions.
However, the pilot event was announced in May and will play an important role in paving the way for the return of large-scale music events as the UK emerges from restrictions.
As a Government scientific Events Research Programme, festival-goers at Donington Park, Leics, will have to take Covid tests before and after the event and will be expected to camp on site for the duration. They must also provide proof of a negative test before entering.
Mr Copping added: “We’re incredibly excited to safely welcome back fans to Donington Park and honoured to play a vital part in the return of live music to the UK.
"Putting together a line-up of 40 outstanding bands including headliners like Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Enter Shikari and Bullet For My Valentine, is something the Download brand is uniquely able to do and made possible by a thriving UK rock scene and deep pool of in-demand talent.”
Other bands on the bill for the pilot event include Neck Deep, While She Sleeps and Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls.
And Benji Webbe, of Welsh ragga-metal band Skindred – a Download Festival favourite – said: “There is nothing that beats the experience of a live rock ‘n’ roll show, especially after all the lockdowns.
"It’s something that cannot be downloaded and does not work either as a live stream. So to be involved in this much needed and very special pilot event is an honour.”
A full-scale Download has already been announced for next summer, with Kiss, Iron Maiden and Biffy Clyro topping the bill.
Earlier pilot gigs in London and Liverpool showed the spread of Covid-19 would be relatively low at such events.
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